Emmanuel Rodriguez and Gary Antonio Russell will settle unfinished business more than a year after their very brief encounter.
BoxingScene.com has learned that a Rodriguez-Russell rematch is set to take place on October 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The bout will serve on the undercard of the already announced heavyweight clash between former WBC champ Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41KOs) and Robert Helenius (31-3, 20KOs) atop a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View that includes a WBC super title eliminator between former titlists Caleb Plant and Anthony Dirrell.
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com though not yet publicly confirmed by Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), the show will also feature a vacant IBF junior welterweight title fight between Puerto Rico’s Subriel Matias (18-1, 18KOs) and Argentina’s Jeremias Ponce (30-0, 20KOs). Matias and Rodriguez are both locally promoted in Puerto Rico by Juan Orengo’s Fresh Productions.
Rodriguez and Russell previously met in a WBA title eliminator, downgraded from interim title status after the sanctioning body was beginning to phase out such belts. The stakes mattered little in the end, as their August 14 Showtime-televised encounter lasted just 16 seconds. A clash of heads busted and bloodied the bridge of Rodriguez’s nose, at which point referee Sharon Sands ruled Puerto Rico’s Rodriguez (20-2, 12KOs; 1ND) unfit to continue.
A rematch was hoped for by both boxers, who have since fought once each against separate opposition.
Russell (19-0, 12KOs; 1ND) barely edged Alexandro Santiago in a ten-round majority decision win in the opening bout of a Showtime tripleheader last November 27 in Las Vegas. The 29-year-old southpaw from Capitol Heights, Maryland—whose older brother Gary Jr. is a former WBC featherweight titlist and younger brother Gary Antuanne is a rising junior welterweight contender—hoped to parlay the win into a bantamweight title shot, but has instead sat out all of 2022 while awaiting word on his next assignment.
Rodriguez’s lone ring appearance since his 16-second fight with Russell didn’t last much longer.
The former IBF bantamweight titlist from Manati, Puerto Rico stopped Roberto Sanchez at 2:22 of the first round on March 25 in Cancun, his first win since October 2018. The three-fight winless skid for Rodriguez included a second-round knockout to Naoya Inoue—ending his IBF title reign in May 2019—followed by a highly questionable 12-round, split decision defeat to unbeaten Reymart Gaballo in their December 2020 interim WBC bantamweight title fight, along with the Russell debacle.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox